I am hoping the rain delays are over so that we can get out to the yards to super up. The strong hives still sit in doubles and are starting to bust at the seams!!! The crop has started to bloom pretty much everywhere and with this moisture I expect the nectar to be flowing as soon as the heat returns. Nine yards are to be moved out yet…soon as I can travel the roads. This next week will be a busy one. I cant wait to get into the hives to see their progress!
Today I hosted a visit of 80-100 guests in part of the one day “Canadian” tour as part of the 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture this year held in Winnipeg. The stop on our farm was in part of Deerwood Soil and Water where as I showed the guests our zero tillage equipment and spoke about our farm and how we incorporate conservation land management into our farm. Apart from the focus on conservation I toured the guest through my honey house and spoke about beekeeping, how I manage my bees, the challenges I’m faced with and how I manage them. I am not use to speaking in front of large crowds but I seemed to manage my way fine through the presentation. The audience was very interested in both my presentation and I fielded questions all over the map. It was a very interesting afternoon. Typically I sit back and listen to what others say and hold my thoughts and opinions to myself, but this afternoon I was the one speaking. Hope my input was useful!
There are no sure things in this business. During this weeks queen checks I have noticed one particular batch of queen I had ordered to be running in the low 70’s for acceptable performance as compared to the rest of my queens running mid 90’s. These queens took hold of the hive but had nothing in them… so today I dug into my reserves and dropped nucs into these hives. A major crisis averted by having an action plan at hand.
My queen rearing cells are mature enough to be placed into mating nucs this weekend. I expect laying queens in a week and a half from now. We will be continually working throughout the summer to replenish the nuc stock which will be used to keep my production yards in tip top condition.
The next stage of my queen replacement strategy is coming along nicely. A couple weeks ago at the end of the split round we slashed down a few hives to make up a yard full of nucs. A frame of brood and a queen, just enough to get them going,small enough to keep them under control for a few weeks. These nucs will be used to rejuvenate hives by implanting them into production hives flagged for poor performance. This nuc implant will send the hive immediately back into production mode. I adopted this strategy to keep my bee yards full and to address the issue I seem to have with shrinking yards throughout the summer production season. We have also started queen rearing and will be building queen stock throughout the summer season. I plan to use these queens later in the season to requeen some of my less vigorous smaller hives. The idea is to replace those “maybe” hives and winter more “sure” hives. An surplus nucs will be sent through winter and used to requeen poor performing stock in the spring. The key to making all this work is to hand all of it off to my “brood nest technician”. This way the work will get done, and not just talked about!!
Today I spent the day spot checking yards to find out where about my hives are sitting at. I am debating whether to send out the excluders this week or the next. The crop is late again with nothing in bloom yet and because of this I have decided to ignore the calendar, as I have been for two years now and I have decided to push back the the start of the pull by a week. We will be sending the excluders out first week of July. Thirds will be sent out at the same time, which is going to make it tight for about 20-30% of my hives as they have the top box full of brood!